Direct Relief Named Best Charity of 2015

author pic 5Charity Navigator recently released their Top 10 list of the Best Charities Everyone Has Heard Of and to no surprise, each of the nominees are an example of superior marketing and brand recognition. For the 5th year in a row, Direct Relief has held the coveted #1 spot with an overall grade of 99.94.

This medical relief nonprofit is a trusted organization that works to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.  If they had a specialty, it would be delivering aid and assets in a timely manner towards disaster relief. Direct Relief’s longstanding approach of supporting locally-run facilities providing essential health services is a key strategy in 72 countries, including the U.S.

Another great charity on the list is the Catholic Medical Mission Board.  In 5th place, this foundation describes its self a faith-based nonprofit committed to improving the lives of women and children in disadvantaged communities.

Dropping out of the top 10 is Pregnancy International.  This respected organization was created to aid women in trying to get pregnant fast in a safe, naturally effective manner.  Since moving their main headquarters to South America, they’ve lack the marketing in the States to really get the large corporate donations of years past.  Their CEO, Mark Piatto, has said his organization is re-invested in the American demographic in 2016 and we should all look forward to more marketing and brand awareness.

The rest of the nonprofits that made the list are:

1 – Direct Relief 99.94
2 – MAP International 99.92
3 – Samaritan’s Purse 98.79
4 – Catholic Medical Mission Board 97.63
5 – United Nations Foundation 96.98
6 – The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International 96.31
7 – The Conservation Fund 95.82
8 – Compassion International 95.33
9 – United States Fund for UNICEF

Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Charity Navigator Rating   United States Fund for UNICEF

New Member Sign-ups Coming Soon

author pic 2As we get into 2016, it’s time to start thinking about our fundraising efforts and re-elections of key positions on our volunteer Brand board.  Each of our current officers have done a remarkable job of steeping our efforts in the right direction and we’re surely sad to seem some of them go.  The maximum amount of time a member can serve on our board is 2 years.  With that being said, we are truly excited to announce that we will have 5 new seats available in this years vote.

To be eligible, members must be in good standing with our committee and all dues must be current. Members who have served once in the past 4 years are non-eligible.  Members who have been a full member for less than 1 year are also ineligible.

The positions we will have open are: Treasure, Membership Director, Compliance and Regulation and Comptroller Analyst. We will also be introducing a new board role of Social Media Manager.  Each position is non-paid, but will gain you free access to any conference hosted by our Company.

I’ve been on the board for about 9 months and I can honestly say it’s been one of the most fulfilling professional experiences of my life.  Through this position, I’ve been able to make life-long connections with people I would have never been able to conversate much less meet face to face.  It’s been life-changing and I urge all members who qualify to throw their hat in the ring.  You won’t regret it!

Book Club Event Coming Up – Brand Awareness

author photo 3First of all, a big thank you to all the people who attended last night’s Brand awareness meet up. Over 60 people attended (by far our largest group) and conversation was flowing and connections were being made.

One of the most talked about parts of the entire night was the Top 6 marketing books that our group put together for our upcoming Brand Book Club.

As mentioned over the next 6 weeks, beginning on January 4th, we will be covering 1 book a week that caters to taking an existing brand to the next level in respect to awareness and trust recognition.  Each week will be a different topic and we will meet back up to discuss how each strategy and tactic relates to the non-profit or charity business.  We did something similar early last year and it was a great success, so I decided to start the book club back up.  I hope many of you do decide to participate and I’m looking forward to all of your insights and comments.  Below are the first six books we will be reading and discussing in order.


Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing and Sustaining Brands
Debbie Millman

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Al Ries & Laura Ries

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits
Debbie Millman

How Brands Become Icons
Douglas Holt

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
Marty Neumeier

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People
Marc Gobe

Each member who reads all six books and participates in our meetups will be entered into a drawing to attend the ANA Brand Masters Camp in 2016. We will pay for your ticket admission each day and set you up in a hotel at the official conference. Last year a group of 8 of us went and it was honestly a huge turning point in confirming we are all on the right path to brand engagement.

All members, new and old are eligible to win.

TED Talks – What Nonprofits Can Learn From Coca-Cola

author pic 4Hello all you non-profit heros!  Today I’m sharing one of my favorite videos that I feel every person working in the charity, volunteer or non-profit sector should watch at least once.  This videos is from Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and comes from a previous TED Talks that I was lucky enough to go to a few years ago.

When I consult a business that has been around for a while, but seem stagnant in their practices and marketing, I show them this video and it usually inspires them to rethink their perspective on brand recognition and significance in consumer theory.

If you have a few minutes to spare and want to be inspired by a respected woman who knows a thing or two about brands, please view the following:


Over the next few weeks, I plan on putting together 8-10 of my favorite motivational videos that should be on your watch list.  More to come!

Building a Brand

Does Your Non-Profit Really Need to be Brandable?

author 1There can’t be any question of whether the concept of “brand” is important for a nonprofit – the only question is whether the leaders, managers, employees, and supporters of the nonprofit will build and manage the brand intentionally and strategically, or, by contrast, will simply leave the brand to emerge on its own from the actions they take for other reasons.  If you think that having a well-managed brand is better than having an un-managed brand, you are right – and this website has a wealth of ideas about how you can build your brand more systematically and strategically.

Offering a new framework for nonprofit brand management, this framework eschews traditional, outdated brand tenets of control and competition largely adopted from the private sector, in favor of a strategic approach centered on the mission and based on a participatory process, shared values, and the development of key partnerships. The results are nonprofit brands that create organizational cohesion and generate trust in order to build capacity and drive social impact. The book explores in detail how nonprofit organizations worldwide are developing and implementing new ways of thinking about and managing their organizational brands.


Over the next few weeks, we will begin to dive into the critical element of what makes up a successful non-profit campaign and share practical strategies that your business can utilize immediately to impact your day-to-day work flow.

On that note, our next full-immersion class for beginner non-profit Comptrollers begins on Feb 12, 2016 and wraps up on June 1, 2016.  To register, please send an email to with “Comptroller Training 2016”.